An interview with Show No Show creators Gabrielle Revlock & Aleksandr (Sasha) Frolov
By Lois Welk
Lois: Tell the story of how you met.
Gabrielle: We met at Art Omi. It’s an amazing artist residency near Hudson, NY. Their motto is “care and abundance.” We made work during the day, took swim breaks and every night there was a happy hour before dinner. Before we arrived we were sent the bios of the other artists. I’m pretty sure that when I read Sasha’s bio I rolled my eyes, it was very formal, but as soon as I saw him perform — something we did for each other the first week– I thought, I have to work with this person.
Sasha: I remember how busy you were, Gabi. And I was relaxed and that’s why I wanted to work with you. It’s good to work with hard workers [laughs].
Lois: What did you do in the first rehearsal?
Sasha: I don’t remember! [pause] I suppose the first time we worked together was not really a rehearsal, it was during an exercise that one of the other resident artists led during the first week. The assignment was to interact with a specific space and our space was a small shed with a table, and that’s still in the piece.
Gabrielle: [laughs] Yes, that was a weird first encounter. We still have an awkward moment with the table but now it’s a fantasy sex scene set in doctor’s office.
Lois: Describe some investigations you designed to generate movement?
Gabrielle: We worked with eye contact, first sitting and then moving. We have another score where we tease each other.
Sasha: Ah yes, we make fun of each other. There are a lot of silly moments in the piece. Awkward dance is another silly place but it’s in the body in a very different way.
Gabrielle: Yes, it takes some inspiration from contact improv but injects more idiosyncratic movements and irregular rhythms.
Lois: How differently do Russian and American audiences respond to your work?
Gabrielle: I’m not sure they are all that different. We’ve performed Show No Show in the US and Russia and in both places we’ve been lucky to have very engaged audiences. People seem to relate to the piece. I had one audience member, not a professional reviewer, send me a two page review.
Sasha: In Russia, people were surprised by your performance quality–your face. It’s not a typical way for Russian contemporary dancers. And my Russian peers were also surprised by me because they weren’t used to seeing me perform with this different quality of humor and lightness. They noticed that I was able to make fun of myself. Oftentimes people look like they are in a bad mood when they perform.
Lois: What comes next for your partnership?
Gabrielle: We are planning a project with Alex Tatarsky who will be leading a post performance activity after the Thursday night show. She’s an amazing clown and Russian scholar so it feels like a good fit. Will be working with language and practice surrounding anxiety treatment. We will also be touring Show No Show in 2019. Stay tuned for info!
Lois: Good luck with your show!
Gabrielle: Thank you. After each show we are inviting the audience to stick around and have drinks with us in the space. There’s a lovely outdoor area. We are also teaching three contemporary dance and improvisation classes at Gibney so I’m hoping people will come not only to see the show but hang out with us, talk with us, dance with us.